Eggs Around the World

Do you know your shakshuka from your tamagoyaki? This quick guide to classic egg dishes in all their delectable variety will set you straight.

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The Good Egg

Packed with protein, inexpensive, and suited for breakfast, lunch and dinner, eggs are one of the world's most-versatile foods. Here are just a few of the many ways cooks the globe over have transformed this simple ingredient into something magnificent.

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By Bob Hoebee for Food Network Kitchen

Eggs Benedict

It's only fitting that such a universally loved dish should have competing origin stories. Some say it was invented in the 1890s at the Waldorf Hotel as a hangover cure for a certain Mr. Benedict. Others claim it was first made at Delmonico's restaurant, also in New York City, for a different Mr. Benedict. We do know the original dish was made with toast, bacon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. Later, the toast and bacon were replaced by English muffins and Canadian bacon or ham.

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This one-pot dish, said to originate in Northern Africa, is now very popular all over the Middle East, especially in Israel and Egypt. To make shakshuka, eggs are skillet-poached in a bubbling bath of chile peppers, sweet onion and tomato sauce, often scented with cumin and paprika, then served with toasted pita. The meal is very similar to Italian-style eggs in purgatory, which also has a tomato sauce base, though then it is flavored with olives and cheese.

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Egg Foo Young

The name literally means "hibiscus egg" in Chinese because this wok-fried egg pancake takes on a flowery shape when fried until brown and bubbly. Made with ham or shrimp, onion, bean sprouts, and sometimes peas, the dish is often served with a glossy broth and cornstarch slurry sauce. In St. Louis and other parts of the Midwest, you'll find a regional variation called a "Saint Paul Sandwich," where the egg patty is served on white bread with mayonnaise, dill pickles, lettuce and tomato.

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Mexican and Tex-Mex Migas

This brunch staple consists of torn strips of corn tortillas that are fried in lard or oil until partially crisp, then scrambled with eggs. They are usually served with a zesty red or green salsa. Embraced as a way to resurrect day-old tortillas, egg migas are very similar to Jewish matzo brei, but they're made with tortillas instead of matzo.

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Sabzi Kuku

This very green Persian take on a frittata is traditionally served on New Year's to symbolize rebirth, but it is also enjoyed throughout the seasons for breakfast, lunch or dinner — or as a snack. Made of eggs mixed with a generous amount of chopped dill, parsley, cilantro and chives, it is poured into a pan and baked. You can eat it straight or sliced up in a sandwich.

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This very light-textured Japanese egg custard steamed in a ceramic bowl or teacup is usually flavored with soy, dashi (bonito and kelp broth) and mirin (sweet rice wine). You'll often see it topped with shiitake mushrooms, small sweet shrimp or gingko nuts.

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This popular Japanese rolled omelet is made from beaten eggs flavored with dashi and soy sauce. The egg mixture is expertly cooked in very thin layers, which are then stacked in the pan and rolled up. Grated daikon radish is a popular garnish.

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Scotch Eggs

An English treat some say was invented in a London department store, these are hard-cooked eggs that are coated with sausage and breadcrumbs, then fried until crispy. Although they are sometimes served hot with gravy, you'll most often encounter them served at room temperature or as a popular picnic food. Scotch eggs come in several variations, including one where the egg is first pickled before being coated and fried.

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Shirred Eggs

First popularized in late-19th-century cookbooks, these baked eggs were originally made in a flat-bottomed dish called a "shirrer." These days, any small ramekin will do. Whole eggs are baked with a knob of butter or drizzle of cream until the whites are just set. (In this way they are quite similar to eggs en cocotte, but they're not baked in a water bath.) Shirred eggs are often garnished with breadcrumbs or croutons and minced herbs like tarragon and chives.

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Spanish Tortilla

This is a Spanish take on an omelet or frittata: Vegetables are cooked until tender, then coated with just enough beaten egg to hold them together. The whole thing is fried on both sides in a skillet to form a thick, golden-crusted pancake. In Spain, you'll see tortillas served at room temperature as tapas to accompany wines or aperitifs. The most-famous version is tortilla Espanola, made with sliced potatoes, onions and eggs that are fried until golden in Spanish olive oil.

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Chinese Steamed Eggs

These custardy, absurdly supple steamed eggs might seem intimidating, but they are most definitely not. We added a couple of extra steps to make them absolutely foolproof: First, covering the eggs with foil guarantees that you won't get large pools of water in your ramekins; secondly, and allowing the eggs to gently finish cooking in the steamer after the initial cooking time ensures perfectly just-set eggs every time.

Get the Recipe: Chinese Steamed Eggs

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